Beard Wash & Softener vs. Hair Shampoo & Conditioner: The Difference
The art of keeping your beard looking its best is often a challenge but one that’s certainly made easier by the plethora of grooming products available today.
A common question among many men focuses on the necessity of using a variety of products vs. using just one or two. For instance, why not just use your regular hair shampoo on your beard? What’s the big deal with the beard wash vs. hair shampoo debate?
Or, why can’t I use scalp conditioner on my beard instead of buying a bottle of beard softener?
The reasons are many, as it turns out, and we’re here to examine them while taking a closer look at cleansers and conditioners meant for your beard and those meant for your scalp. In the end, we hope you’ll take a closer look at your beard grooming routine, while understanding why using products designed for a specific job pays off in a healthier, more attractive beard.
Beard Wash vs. Hair Shampoo And Why They’re Different
There are many reasons why a man would think it’s OK to use regular shampoo on his beard. For one, it’s convenient: there’s that bottle of shampoo already sitting in the shower, why not use it and kill two birds with one stone?
Well, for one, you might also kill your beard but that’s a point will get into in a second.
Another reason follows the “it's all hair after all” line of thinking which is, again, faulty. Facial hair and head hair aren’t the same, as various studies prove.
Of course, some men will always point to the cost – not that there’s anything wrong with that – and argue that spending money on two kinds of shampoo takes its toll on ye olde budget. But, hey, if you’re truly committed to having the best-looking, healthiest beard possible, then you have to invest in it financially, as well. Besides, if push comes to shove, you can probably think of a few ways in which you waste money every day.
Let’s dig deeper, however, and point out the differences between Beard Wash and hair shampoo, and why you can’t rely on your handy bottle of scalp cleanser in the quest to make your beard look its best.
Beard Wash 101: What It Is, Why You Should Use It
If we had to choose one major difference between Beard Wash and regular shampoo it’s this – Beard Wash doesn’t include chemicals that strip your skin of its natural oils. True, you can find natural shampoos that don’t disrupt your skin’s chemistry like most mass-manufactured ones do, but shampoo meant for your scalp is supposed to keep oiliness to a minimum so your hair doesn’t look like it has a perpetual sheen of grease.
But what’s this business with natural oils? It comes down to the sebaceous glands present at the root of each hair follicle which produce an oil called sebum. Sebum keeps the skin and hair, whether it’s on your scalp or your beard, moisturized and well-nourished, which is essential for its overall health. A lack of sebum, as you can imagine, can easily produce dry, brittle hair – which then looks like a dull, lifeless mass of broken hair and split ends.
Sebum, in short, regulates how much water enters and exits your skin while protecting it from fungal and bacterial infections. Too much sebum, however, can clog skin pores, so it’s OK to remove some of it – which is what Beard Wash accomplishes, i.e., it gets rid of the excess while retaining the appropriate amount to keep the beard moisturized properly. Head hair generally doesn’t need the same amount of natural oils to stay moisturized without looking greasy, so hair shampoo is formulated to get rid of more of those oils.
The bottom line is that you need those oils if you want a great-looking beard, which we assume is your preference. A beard that has the right amount of natural oils has a natural luster and sheen to it, not one that looks contrived in some way.
There are other ways in which Beard Wash benefits your whiskers in a way that hair shampoo doesn’t:
High-quality beard washes contain ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-bacterial to promote a healthy, great-looking beard that’s also comfortable.
Comfort is sometimes a life-or-death (OK, not literally) issue for men who suffer from beard itch. Beard itch is a common problem among beardsmen and, in some cases, it’s severe enough for some men to consider the drastic measure of shaving off their beard. A lack of sufficient hydration is the cause of many beard “annoyances,” not the least of which is beard itch. Another cause of beard itch are infections of the hair follicles caused by bacteria, as well as the itchiness caused by irritated, inflamed, and scaly skin.
Another beard annoyance is beard dandruff, aka beardruff - those pesky flakes of dry skin that occur when a beard becomes too dry. And it’s not necessarily your fault because the longer your beard gets, the more natural oils it takes to meet the demand of your hair follicles. In most cases, there’s not enough oil to keep up with the growth, which is why moisturizing products such as Beard Softener,Beard Oil, and Utility Balm are must-haves for your beard grooming kit.
Beard washes and shampoos – which are the same thing, btw – are formulated to manage your beard’s oil content at the most suitable levels. Any product that’s too oily and greasy leads to too oily and greasy skin. The same is true of products, such as many regular shampoos, which wash away too much oil and leave your beard and the skin underneath it too dry.
Products not intended for use on the beard, such as shampoo used on the scalp and head hair, can weaken the roots of your facial hair follicles which, in turn, increases the chances of them falling out, breaking, or developing weakened roots that impact their long-term health.
How much is too much when it comes to using beard wash/shampoo?
Most men shampoo their hair every day, which isn’t recommended, to be honest, and many also think that they should shampoo their beard every day. But, if anything, you should shampoo your beard less than you shampoo the hair on your head - even just once or twice a week.
Our video discusses this, but addresses the caveat of how often you shampoo your beard depends on a couple of things, 1) your Beard Wash or shampoo, and 2) your occupation. Our Beard Wash, which comes in Gold and Silver Line scents, is formulated so you can use it every day. But, we recommend that you wash your beard only as needed.
However, if you work in an occupation that exposes you to dirt and grime on a regular basis, then using a Beard Wash every day (importantly one formulated for safe daily use) is OK, and probably necessary.
It’s also a good idea to follow up with a Beard Softener after you wash your beard to keep your whiskers soft and pliable. A Beard Softener is similar to a hair conditioner, but different – which we’ll talk about later.
Another thing to look for when scanning a Beard Wash’s ingredients list is silicone. You want to avoid silicone products; not because they’re all bad or evil, but because they aren’t water soluble. That means, for one, that they’re harder to wash out of your hair than water-soluble shampoos. Why include silicones in beard products? Well, they help make your beard look shiny, which many men desire. Silicone fills in the porosity found in hair, artificially plumping the hair to make it look healthier and shinier. On the other hand, premium products without silicone will help make your beard look shinier by actually making the hairs healthier, not just plumping them.
A final note on Beard Wash: make sure what you buy is what it claims to be. There are a lot of products out there that claim to be Beard Wash but are simply regular shampoos that are re-bottled.
Here’s a closer look at how often you should wash your beard
The main rule of thumb when discussing how often you should shampoo/wash your beard is “less is more.” In fact, it’s an adage that applies to many things about beard care - including the amount of product you use for each application. A little truly does go a long way.
But let’s break down the beard washing frequency question a bit more:
By skin type
If you have oily skin – because it produces more sebum – you can wash your beard more frequently. While you want the skin and beard to retain natural oils, too much oil can clog your pores and lead to beardruff and acne. If you have dry skin, however, too much washing will dry it out even more, so you should wait three or four days between washes. Men with combination skin, meanwhile, can safely wash their beard every few days and, in fact, can even just rinse their beard with water if it becomes a bit oily before their next wash.
By beard type
Coarse, thick beards tend to be drier than thinner beards. Curly hair also is typically on the dry side. If your beard is coarse and/or curly, less frequent washing is better. If your beard is thin you can wash it more often because it helps to make your beard appear fuller. The same can be said if you have a patchy beard.
If you live in a dry climate, such as a desert region or some place like the upper Midwest where winters are harsh, your skin and beard will tend to lack moisture. That’s why it’s important to leave enough time to allow your sebum to build up before your next washing. And always follow up with a conditioning product, like Beard Softener and Beard Oil, to replace the lost moisture.
If you live in a wet climate, particularly one with high humidity, your skin and beard probably have more moisture than if you lived somewhere else. But too much moisture can make your skin stickier and attract excess dirt and micro-organisms that can clog pores.
We’ve also discussed how your occupation can affect how often you wash your beard. The dirtier the job, the more often you should wash it. Men who spend a lot of time outdoors usually need to wash their beard more. Or, if you work out consistently, meaning you sweat a lot, you may need to wash your beard more regularly, as well.
No matter what type of beard and skin you have (or where you live), you could benefit from using a conditioning product on a regular basis. But, more on that later.
Why is a beard dry and rough in the first place?
That’s a good question and we’ve already talked about it a little, like how the skin beneath the beard produces less natural oil. As your beard grows, it’s harder for the skin’s sebum to keep up with the growth. The result is a beard that’s in need of additional hydration. Washing it, especially with shampoo not formulated for a beard, can further deplete the supply of oil.
Lack of proper care is another reason why a beard becomes dry. Products such as Beard Softener, Beard Oil, and Utility Balm – all of which we’ll talk about later – are essential for keeping your wonderful whiskers from becoming dry and lifeless. Daily combing and brushing also help.
A beard’s roughness often stems from having too many split ends among your facial hair. These split ends will continue to split the hairs up the shaft all the way to the root if left untreated. The result is dry, frizzy, and unhealthy hair. Frequent trimming of your beard can help curb this phenomenon.
Hair Shampoo and Why You Shouldn’t Use it On Your Beard
Regular shampoo, the kind you use on your head hair, that is, basically has two primary purposes – to clean your hair (yes, a Captain Obvious moment) and to rid your hair of oil that makes it look greasy. The longer you wait to wash your hair, the greasier it looks.
One of the reasons why your hair tends to look greasy is the skin beneath it. The skin on your head is thicker than the skin under your beard, and it has more glands, pores, etc., which means it produces more oil. Meanwhile, the skin under your beard needs a gentler wash because it’s thinner and produces less oil than the skin on your scalp.
Shampoo contains surfactants that affect how it performs as a whole. Surfactants provide the lather and detergent-like (cleansing) qualities of shampoo, particularly anionic surfactants. Common anionic surfactants found in hair care shampoo are sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and other sulfates that can damage hair when used consistently over a long period.
Another chemical you’ll find in many generic shampoos is polyethylene glycol, which is used in everything from skin creams, personal lubricants, and even in paintball fills. While the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t banned it, some people report adverse physical reactions, such as allergies, when exposed to it.
But it all circles back to natural oil produced by the skin when comparing Beard Wash to regular shampoo. Because you want to preserve the oil found under your hair follicles, at least enough to keep your beard hydrated and with a nice sheen, you’ll want to avoid the relative harshness of hair shampoo.
Another thing about generic, hair shampoo is that it strips away any artificial coloring you put in your beard (or scalp hair, for that matter) more quickly than Beard Wash would.
So, how is my facial hair different from my scalp hair?
Hair is hair, right? Until it isn’t, that is. What’s on your head isn’t the same as those hairs that comprise your fabulous face ‘fro. Here’s why:
For starters, facial hair is of a type called androgenic hair, which sprouts – beginning at puberty – thanks to levels of the hormone androgen in your body. While it goes through the same growth phases as scalp hair (anagen, telogen, catagen), those phases happen at slightly different times which, in turn, influences how long or short your beard hair gets.
Androgenic hair growth and testosterone work hand-in-hand. The more testosterone a man has, the more facial hair he’ll grow. On the flipside, men with an over-abundance of testosterone are more likely to experience male pattern baldness than men who have less – which is one reason why a man with a full beard and a bald head isn’t an uncommon sight.
The skin beneath your scalp is different than the skin underneath your hair follicles. Scalp skin typically is oilier than facial skin, which is why regular shampoo has ingredients to get rid of the oil.
Beard hair is thicker than scalp hair and, in that regard, closely resembles (drum roll) pubic hair. Now don’t panic at the idea of growing a man-bush on your face – it turns out that thicker hair releases higher levels of pheromones. And pheromones give off a distinct scent that’s, evolutionarily speaking, a way to attract potential mates.
Then again, any hair that grows where it didn’t grow before puberty is, technically, considered “pubic” hair. But that’s no excuse for asking someone to run their hands through your pubic hair, even if you mean your beard.
Scalp hair can be straight or curly or bristly, or whatever, but facial hair grows thicker and curlier. Again, it comes down to how facial hair reacts to testosterone and androgens, which make hair follicles twist and begin to curl.
Does your beard hair have patches of color that you won’t find anywhere else on your body? Don’t be surprised. Also, don’t be surprised if your beard shows signs of graying before your scalp.
So, all that said, there are definite differences between facial hair and scalp hair that cause each to require different kinds of care. That means differences in the products you use, how often you use them, and the types of tools used (for example, a beard brush isn’t necessarily suitable for brushing the hair on your scalp).
Here’s How to Wash Your Beard With Beard Wash
To be clear, washing your beard with Beard Wash isn’t as complicated as say, brain surgery (or any surgery, for that matter). However, there are a few rules of the road to follow to ensure that you’re giving your beard the best scrub possible without overdoing it.
You should use the same mindset for shampooing your beard as you do for shampooing your scalp hair. That is, you want to massage your shampoo down to the skin because, technically, you’re washing the skin even more than you’re washing the hair.
Apply a small amount of the wash in your palms and rub them together. Then apply it all over your beard while making sure you massage the skin. You don’t need to use a ton of the stuff, but just enough to work up a decent lather. By “small amount” of wash, we mean about a nickel to quarter size of wash, or about 2 centimeters for those of you who live outside the U.S.
Use the tips of your fingers to massage the wash down to your beard hair roots and beyond. Make sure to move the hair in different directions as you apply it to ensure that you cover all of it. Don’t be afraid to massage it in more aggressively if you have a new beard; many beard care experts say doing so will stimulate hair follicles and encourage better growth.
Pay close attention to the temperature of the water as you wash your beard and rinse it afterward. Hot water will dry your skin and affect the overall health of your beard, as well as its growth. Your best choice is to use warm water, which will open the pores.
Rinse carefully while making sure that you leave no traces of wash behind.
Dry your beard thoroughly after you’ve rinsed it. Use a clean towel and don’t rub your beard vigorously to get the moisture out because you can damage hair follicles. Instead, pat it gently until the moisture is gone.
Follow up with a Beard Softener or another type of moisturizing conditioner that will help keep your beard soft and manageable. Apply the Softener to your beard hairs and not to the skin as you would with a beard shampoo.
We strongly recommend applying Beard Oil or a beard balm, such as Utility Balm, after you wash and condition your beard. Your beard will feel amazingly soft after you use a shampoo or wash designed for it and a beard conditioner or softener. Don’t be surprised if those beard hairs feel almost as soft as your head hair once you’ve finished washing and conditioning your beard.
You can even use your Beard Wash to wash your face while you’re in the process of washing your beard. The best Beard Washes are gentle enough for use on the thinner skin that’s on your face.
If you have a long beard, you can brush your beard to remove hairs that have fallen out while also loosening up dead skin cells, dirt, and pollution that you can wash out in the shower. Note: it’s your choice where to apply your Beard Wash. Many men choose the shower because it’s handier but, again, make sure the water isn’t so hot that it will dry out your beard and skin.
As far as brushing your beard, please use a brush designed for beards. Premium beard brushes have bristles made of boar’s hair and their frame and handle made of wood. Don’t use a plastic-bristle hairbrush. Yes, they cost less, but they are rougher on your hair than those with boar bristles.
So, what’s this business about co-washing?
Co-washing is short for washing your hair with conditioner only. True, conditioner seemingly has nothing to do with “cleaning” your beard and it would seem that eliminating beard wash from your routine is a little, well, absurd.
But, as it turns out, co-washing may be the solution for you and your beard.
The reason is this: most conditioners contain small amounts of detergents that help rid your hair of dirt, grime, and any leftover hair products. Hair shampoos typically contain a crapload of these chemicals – known as surfactants – that make sure no dirt or grime is left behind.
As we mentioned previously, an overabundance of those chemicals can strip hair follicles of their natural oils. Co-washing became popular, or least not unheard of, thanks to people with long, wavy, and curly hair that dries out more easily than most other types.
So, the bottom line is that using conditioner instead of regular shampoo means that you can still remove excess residue and grime without disrupting the delicate balance of natural oils. You can also co-wash your beard and it’s not a bad strategy considering that beard hair tends to dry out more easily than head hair. Beard hair, as we’ve mentioned, also tends to be coarser than head hair, which necessitates the use of a conditioning products such as Beard Softener, Beard Oil, and Utility Balm.
There’s nothing complicated about co-washing, either – all you need to do is apply the conditioner or Beard Softener at the beginning of your shower, or anytime your beard is wet, and let it soak in for a bit. Then rinse it out as you would a Beard Wash and finish by applying Beard Oil or Utility Balm. The latter types of “conditioners” are considered leave-in conditioners that you don’t rinse from your beard after application.
Give the co-wash method a try for a couple of weeks if you think it can help alleviate a dry beard that may also itch and has a fair amount of beardruff. You may notice a big difference in how your beard feels and looks.
A quick look at Beard Wash and Utility Bar
We’re proud of all of our products here at Beardbrand, including our line of Beard Washes and our Utility Bar. While you can cleanse your beard with both products, as our video discusses, there are subtle differences between Beard Wash and Utility Bar.
Perhaps the biggest difference is overall versatility. Our Utility Bar has multiple uses and is a true all-in-one grooming product. It’s suitable for use on your body, beard, hair, face – you can even use it for shaving. We’re proud of that versatility and, in this case, it doesn’t mean that it’s good for some areas of grooming and not as good for others, because we designed it to be good at everything it does.
You can keep your Utility Bar in the shower to make it easier to take advantage of everything it does – you wash your hair, body, and beard all in one spot.
With Beard Wash, you can be more focused. It’s great for your beard, but it’s also excellent for the skin underneath. When it comes to deciding which product to use for your beard, however, it comes down to your needs. Do you prefer an all-in-one product, or is your primary concern your beard?
The Utility Bar is great for travel because it saves you the hassle, and travel bag space, of packing various grooming products. You’ll have one product that works as a body soap, shampoo, beard wash – you name it. It’s easier to get more specialized with products at home where you have more room.
Beard Softener vs. Hair Conditioner: What’s the Difference?
Let’s start with Beard Softener which, by the way, is another name for beard conditioner (they’re the same for our purposes). First of all, you can say – technically – that there’s no one beard conditioner. After all, anything you use to maintain the condition of your beard is a “conditioner,” whether it’s wash or conditioner, Beard Oil, or a beard balm.
However, we’re referring to the type of conditioner that’s meant to soften your beard. Beard Softener and Beard Oil have some similarities, too, but Beard Softener repairs and softens damaged beard hair while also treating many of the skin conditions that come with having a beard, such as redness, itchiness, beardruff, etc.
Why use a Beard Softener? Well, for one, it’s the best way to tame a frizzy, fuzzy beard. Beard hair is coarser than the hair on your head, so a normal scalp conditioner isn’t nearly as effective on facial hair as a softener designed specifically for beards. Keeping your beard soft is essential for being able to manage and style it without trouble.
In short, a beard conditioner (at least a good one) is a blend of natural oils that includes vitamins and moisturizers to keep your beard soft and tamed when it becomes scruffy and unruly. But getting back to the original question posed above, a Beard Softener doesn’t include the sulfates or other harsh chemicals you’ll often find in hair conditioners. Those chemicals will quickly deplete the natural oils produced by the skin beneath your beard.
Hydration should be the most important factor when you’re buying a Beard Softener. Let’s face it, a well-moisturized beard always looks better than a dried-out, brittle-looking one. That said, look for conditioners that include natural emollients such as coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe vera.
Look for naturally-sourced ingredients, as well, because they’re healthier for your beard, skin, and even the environment. And while the scent isn’t necessarily the primary reason for choosing a conditioner, you certainly want one that smells good to you. Like with most aromatics, look for a fragrance that’s subtle, not overpowering.
Among the best natural ingredients to look for in a beard softener are jojoba oil, argan oil, castor oil, grapeseed oil, and shea butter.
Another thing to consider when purchasing a beard conditioner is its texture. Softeners that are too thick and waxy are more difficult to apply. On the other hand, you don’t want one that’s overly greasy and gives your beard an excessively shiny finish. Conditioners that include butter, such as shea butter, are generally much easier to spread on your beard. It’s your choice, of course, but most men opt for conditioners that are easy to apply (while still delivering excellent results).
Why using a beard softener is beneficial to your beard
We’ve already touched on some of the benefits of using a Beard Softener but let’s sum it up:
Beard Softener softens your whiskers
It only makes sense that a product that includes “Softener” in its title or label is good for softening something. But it’s worth re-emphasizing the point, i.e., a beard conditioner is essential if your beard feels like a Brillo pad. Beginning a Beard Softener regimen during your beard’s early stages ensures that it will stay soft as it continues to grow.
It soothes beard itch
Not to make beard itch out to be some horrible monster that can push you to the brink of insanity because that seems a bit melodramatic. Then again, beard itch truly does suck at times and some men would just as soon shave off a potentially wondrous beard to eliminate the itching from their life once and for all. Instead of reaching for your razor, however, reach for a beard conditioner that will treat the itch and keep you on the path of bearded glory.
It helps get rid of beardruff
Ah, beardruff, those unsightly flakes of dead skin that cling to your beard and clothes like an aggravating houseguest who refuses to go home. Screw that. A good beard softener will rid your beard of flakes that have a decidedly negative impact on your overall appearance.
It untangles the unruly
Do you have trouble running your fingers, comb, or brush through your beard? That means your whiskers are tangled and, if you don’t do something about them, they’ll cause split ends and breakage. But Beard Softener helps untangle the mess, returns your beard to the land of the well-groomed, and makes it easier to style and keep under control.
It makes your beard smell better
Most beard conditioners have a distinctive scent that varies from brand to brand, as well as from product to product within a brand’s line of softeners. While making your beard smell good shouldn’t be the primary reason for using a softener, a subtle aroma isn’t a bad thing, by any means.
Some tips for applying beard softener
The best time to apply softener is after you’ve scrubbed your beard with a quality Beard Wash. Pat it dry, preferably with a soft towel, or you can even apply it to a dry beard so the excess moisture won’t dilute the product as much.
The important point to remember about applying a Beard Softener is that your focus should be on applying the product to your beard hair, not the skin. While a conditioner can help alleviate some issues common to the skin under your beard, its main purpose is to soften beard hair and leave it feeling almost as flowing as your head hair.
You can apply conditioner when your beard is dry. Rub it between your hands first and then carefully spread it throughout your beard. Feel free to leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing it out; the longer you leave it in, the softer your beard should feel.
There are also Beard Softeners known as leave-in conditioners that you never rinse out of your whiskers. Like all beard products, the best leave-in conditioners contain some natural oils that help provide a healthy, moisturized look without looking too oily or greasy. One of the benefits of a leave-in conditioner is its versatility, because you can use it to make your beard softer, and also use it like a Beard Oil to add some shine to your beard.
One of the cool things about softeners is that they can generate different results depending on how you use them. If you want a beard that has a “normal” amount of softness, apply your conditioner, let it sit for a minute, and then rinse it out. Or, you can deep condition your beard by leaving it in for five to fifteen minutes and then rinsing it. You’ll be surprised at the improvement in your beard’s overall softness.
How you use a softener depends on the coarseness and curliness of your beard, as well as how rapidly it dries out from everyday wear and tear. If you live in a harsh climate – such as one in which temperatures dive during the winter – then longer applications of Beard Softener is a good strategy to follow. How you use softener also depends on how you style your beard.
To learn more, check out our video on how to wash and soften a beard.
Regular conditioner and what it does for your (head) hair
Many men use conditioner on their hair in conjunction with their favorite shampoo. And it’s a good idea, especially if you have excessively dry hair that becomes damaged and brittle. But hair ends up damaged for more than just a lack of natural oil - whether it’s due to daily brushing, harsh weather, too much sun, etc.
Whether, and how, you choose to use conditioner depends on a lot on your type of head hair. We just mentioned dry hair and why conditioner is a go-to product for men who have it, while men with fine hair may benefit from a volumizing conditioner that gives their hair more body.
If you have oily, flat hair, then you may choose not to use conditioner because you don’t want to add additional moisture to hair that’s already a bit greasy. But if you still insist on using a conditioner on your oily hair, look for brands that strengthen, balance, and add volume to your luscious locks.
Natural conditioners, those that don’t include harmful chemicals such as sulfates, are always a good choice, but especially if your scalp is sensitive and easily irritated.
No matter what type of conditioner you choose, however, they all should serve the same basic function: to help replace the loss of natural oils in your hair. Regular shampooing can rob your hair of needed moisture, which is why many men and women use conditioners in the first place.
Conditioners work, in a scientific sense, due to the cationic surfactants included in many of them. The surfactants bind with hair strands and provide a covering that helps protect them from the inevitable weakening of molecular bonds over time. Weakened hair strands and follicles tangle and may eventually break off.
Most hair conditioners also include Cetearyl alcohol, a naturally-derived agent that works to reduce evaporation on the skin, as well as emollients that keep the skin moist while restoring vitamins and minerals lost during shampooing.
A quick word on Beard Oil – another kind of conditioner
There are so many beard products available today that a man trying to keep a well-maintained beard shouldn’t have any trouble finding something that’s useful to him and his fabulous man whiskers. But Beard Oil is one of a few products that should come with a label that says, “You MUST use this stuff!” Simply put, it’s a fundamental grooming product that all beardsmen should have.
Beard Oil is recommended for most, if not all beards, especially those in the early stages of growth when beard itch may feel like a medieval torture method. It’s a light oil that you apply to your beard after you’ve cleaned and conditioned it. It absorbs quickly into the skin to provide additional hydration but won’t leave your beard with an overly-shiny finish.
Beard Oil consists of carrier oils and essential oils. The job of carrier oils is to “carry” essential oil to the skin, and they provide nourishment for the hair and skin. Carrier oils are typically vegetable oils that come from the fatty portion of a plant, and some of the more common ones include jojoba oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, and castor oil.
Essential oils, on the other hand, give plants their distinct, characteristic aroma. They’re considered volatile compounds, which is why a carrier oil is needed to transport them to the skin and hair follicles. Essential oils don’t have the health benefits of carrier oils, but they provide the fragrance of any aromatic product, whether it’s Beard Oil, perfume, or cologne.
Among the most common essential oils are eucalyptus, tea tree, pinewood, cedarwood, and sandalwood.
It comes down to this with Beard Oil: it provides so many benefits to your beard, whether used alone or in conjunction with other beard products, that not using it may get you kicked out of the “Serious Beardsmen Club.” You’ve worked too hard to reach those ranks. Grab a bottle of Beard Oil and consider it your right-hand person in the quest for the perfect beard.
There a few things to keep in mind when applying Beard Oil. For one, it is most effective when applied to a slightly damp beard (the small amount of water will help carry nutrients deeper into your beard hair). Next, pour a few drops of oil into your hands and rub them together. Be careful not to use too much oil because your beard will look overly oily (or even greasy, which isn’t the look most beardsmen desire).
Start by applying the oil at the ends of your whiskers and work your way through to the face. Distribute the oil as evenly as possible; a beard brush or comb works well for making sure you get even distribution. Or, you can even apply a few drops of oil to your beard brush and work it throughout your whiskers that way.
So, can you use both Beard Softener and Beard Oil? The answer is yes, and it’s a good idea. Beard Oil is great for making a dry, dull-looking beard look much healthier, while a softener (obviously) softens and repairs damaged hair follicles and also helps to alleviate beard itch, skin irritation, etc.
The Scoop on Beard Balm, Yet Another Type of Beard Conditioner
Beard balm is another go-to product for men looking to take their beard grooming to the next level, and it falls in the (very) general overall category of a beard conditioner. Balm is frequently referred to as the “lovechild of beard oil and beard wax” because it combines the hydrating qualities of Beard Oil with the hold of a beard wax. A balm’s hold isn’t as strong as that of a wax, but it does contain some beeswax, which is strong stuff, indeed.
Beard balms can also contain butters such as shea butter, avocado butter, and cocoa butter that help to spread and melt the wax, as well as the same kinds of carrier and essential oils that you’ll find in Beard Oil.
As you’d expect from a product that includes beeswax, beard balm has a heavier viscosity than beard oil and provides a hydration boost as well as gives your beard a nice shine that never looks greasy.
While balm doesn’t have the same kind of vice-grip hold as beard wax, it’s strong enough to hold down unruly beard hairs and fly-aways that often defy your best grooming efforts.
Like most beard products, there is no shortage of balms to choose from in the men’s grooming marketplace. Here are some things to keep in mind as you’re choosing a balm the best suits you:
How stiff of a hold do you want from your beard balm? The amount varies, in large part, due to the concentration of beeswax found in each product.
Natural is best
We strongly recommend choosing a balm that has natural ingredients. Products with natural ingredients are good for your beard, the environment, and your overall health.
Check the oil
Consider the oils in the balm’s list of ingredients. Jojoba, grapeseed, and argan are among the best. Also, the best balms use natural butter such as shea and cocoa butter.
Can it take on beardruff?
If a beard balm doesn’t help in the fight against beardruff (and beard itch, for that matter), then it’s probably not worth your hard-earned money.
A final note on beard balm: it’s generally more effective when your beard becomes long and thick. A longer beard usually means more stray hairs that seem to defy your best grooming efforts, which is where beard balm can come to the rescue.
Nonetheless, beard balm isn’t only for men with long beards. You can use it on shorter beards as you would beard oil to provide an additional bit of hydration.
Finally, it’s OK to use beard balm and Beard Oil at the same time. Our advice is to be conservative with both products when using them in conjunction.
The many facets of our Utility Balm
Speaking of balm, we don’t want to overlook our Utility Balm which, like our Utility Bar, is a multi-tasking product that’s a great addition to any man’s grooming kit.
While our Utility Balm is ideal for use on your beard, you can also use it as a skin moisturizer. Do you have tattoos? If so, Utility Balm works great as a daily moisturizer that helps keep your tattoos looking bright, not faded. Tattoos fade with age, but taking good care of them, such as giving them a daily dose of hydration, will help them maintain their original vibrance.
Another thing you’ll like about our Utility Balm is its thick texture. It’s definitely thicker than Beard Oil, which means it sits on your skin and beard longer to provide long-lasting nourishment and moisture.
You’ll also like how our Utility Balm allows you to comb down stubborn stray hairs that go against your beard’s shape and grooming goals. You can even use it as a styling agent for your mustache and sideburns to provide a bit more finish around the edges.
How to apply beard balm in 5 steps
There’s nothing rocket-science-like about applying beard balm, but it helps to know a few tricks of the trade so that you can make the most of its many benefits.
Your first decision while working with beard balm is deciding when to apply it. The ideal time is after you’ve showered and while your beard is still damp and warm – when it will absorb your balm’s key ingredients.
Scoop out a small amount of balm from its jar. You don’t need much, just enough to cover your thumbnail.
Rub the balm vigorously in your palms until it’s fully melted.
Apply it to your beard in a downward motion, starting at the cheek line at the top of your beard. Work it in deeply – down to the roots of your beard – while spreading it outward to the tips. Don’t be afraid to dig deep while applying it to the roots of beard hair follicles.
Rub the balm in until no traces of it remain. Once you’ve finished, we recommend using a beard brush or comb to tame stray hairs while giving your beard a more groomed look.
Well, that wraps up our look at Beard Washes and Softeners vs. Hair Shampoos and Conditioners. We hope that you understand the importance of using products meant for your facial hair on your facial hair and those meant for head hair on your head hair. The differences between the products are significant, as are the results when they’re used correctly.
Do you use Beard Washes and Softeners? How often do you incorporate them into your grooming routine? Have you discovered any tips or tricks that work for you? We’d love to hear from you!